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WHEN THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FREE WILL BAPTISTS ORGANIZED in 1935, the denomination had no men’s ministry. This remained the case until 1955 when the concept of a national men’s ministry was conceived. The idea was discussed at the 1955 national convention, and a committee was appointed.

When the committee presented their report at the 1956 convention, in Huntington, WV, Master’s Men was formed. The first Laymen’s Breakfast was held the following year. Robert Hill, committee chairman, reported 53 chapters in 18 states during the first year.

By 1958, the number of chapters grows to 150. The first service outreach project purchases a truck and trailer for the Ivory Coast.

By 1960, Master’s Men expands to more than 200 chapters.

In 1962, M. E. Howard of Richmond, VA, is named the first “Layman of the Year.”

In 1966, Master’s Men purchases a sign for the National Offices in Nashville, TN. The sign remains until the offices relocate in 1991.

In 1967, Robert Hill steps down and the search for a full-time director begins.

In 1969, Robert Turnage is hired and serves until 1970. Board Chairman Ken Lane (OK) volunteers and keeps the work going. Slow growth allows the board to hire Loyd Olsan as part-time director. Olsan serves until 1983.

In 1982, Charles Denman (TX) spearheads the effort for Master’s Men to provide ushers for the National Convention.

In 1983, the board hires James Vallance as director.

Between 1983 and 1997, many construction projects were accomplished, including a dormitory in Brazil and 81 places of worship.

In 1992, the Sports Fellowship begins with Master’s Men assuming sponsorship of the National Softball Tournament from Randall House

In 1994, the Build-a-House program begins.

Bro. Vallance resigns as Director in 1997.

The board hires Tom Dooley as director in July 1998. After a generous donation to the Master’s Men Department in 1999, the board votes to repay a longstanding debt ($93,000.00) to the Executive Office, thus becoming debt free.

In March of 2000, the board hires Kenneth Akers to become director of ministry development. This brings the total number of employees to four for the first time in the department’s history.

Tom Dooley resigns as director in December 2001 pastor First Free Will Baptist Church in Austintown, OH. The board hires Kenneth Akers to be the new director.

In 2003, after a year of hurricanes on the east coast, Master’s Men forms a Disaster Response Team to help rebuild Free Will Baptist churches damaged by natural disasters.

In 2005, the DRT repairs Gulf Coast Free Will Baptist Church in Gulfport, MS following Hurricane Katrina.

Several exciting activities are planned for 2006, including a National Retreat, where we will spotlight people and events from our 50-year history. Please pray for this ministry. For more information on Master’s Men, contact the office toll-free (877) 767-8039 or visit our website at

Ken Akers, general director
Master’s Men Department




ANTIOCH, TN The Free Will Baptist National Convention will sponsor a learning opportunity this summer for Free Will Baptist college students. This unique intern program will offer a behind-the-scenes look at convention operations, logistics, and organization according to Dean Jones, convention manager.

Photo: Intern Josh Owen working hard at the National Convention in Louisville, KY.

The program will allow twelve students to work on staff during this year’s annual July meeting in Birmingham, AL.  Participants will work in one or more of eight areas: Registration, audio/video production, technical set-up, stage management, exhibition, ushering, publications and safety/security operations.

Students will receive pre-convention training and on-the-job experience, as well as room and board during their stay in Birmingham July 13-20.  College credit is available.

College students are encouraged to request more information by contacting Dean Jones, convention manager, via e-mail at or calling (615) 760-6108. The deadline for receiving applications is March 15, 2006.



VIRGINIA BEACH, VA The Spring semester at Gateway Christian College promises to be interesting for both the college and visitors. The annual Bible Conference, held March 5-8, will feature speakers Johnny Pope, Henry Horne, and Rudolph Outlaw.

The first Alumni Banquet will take place during the conference. Open House will also be to high school students during Bible Conference so pastors and associates can bring their young people to visit the college while attending the conference services. More information about Bible Conference and Spring Open House may be found on the college website at 

The Spring 2006 GCC Golf Tournament will be held April 11. This year’s event will feature great golf, wonderful fellowship, and the opportunity to support the college. Details for this event are posted on the college website.

The 2005-2006 school year will conclude with commencement on Sunday, April 2006, at 6:30 p.m. Rev. Brian Williams, pastor of Highland Drive FWB Church, Lincolnton, NC, will deliver the commencement address.










WENDELL, NC On November 3-5, 2005, Southeastern Free Will Baptist College hosted its annual “Get Acquainted Days.” It was a record-breaking year as more than 200 high school students from 13 different states attended the weekend event.
On November 17-19, 2005, Southeastern held its annual high school basketball tournament. The weekend was exciting as more than 300 high school students visited the campus. The winner in the ladies bracket was Wilson Christian School, Wilson, NC and the winner from the men’s bracket was Faith Christian Academy, Goldsboro, NC.
Upcoming dates:
Grad Days Feb. 9-11
Grad Days Feb. 23-25
Camp Meeting April 10-12

To find out more about Southeastern Free Will Baptist College, visit the website at


CHATTANOOGA, TN Forty-one couples (of four months to 50 years) from ten states gathered the weekend of October 28-30, 2005 for the third Master’s Men/WNAC National Marriage Enrichment Conference.

Richard Atwood, director of missionary assistance for Home Missions, and his wife Sandy were the featured speakers. They shared practical advice to help attendees improve their marriage, parenting, and personal relationships.

Participants enjoyed special singing by Joshua Riggs and Mary and Don Neal. They also enjoyed a candlelight banquet on Saturday evening. During free time, most couples explored Chattanooga including the Tennessee Aquarium and Lookout Mountain.


ANTIOCH, TN In an effort to connect and inform FWB women nationwide, Women Nationally Active for Christ is seeking dates, locations, and news releases of state, district, or regional women’s meetings and events. These dates will be published in upcoming issues of CoLaborer magazine.

Over the past few years, the 32-page, bimonthly publication has undergone several changes, adding features and broadening its scope. Current Editor Sarah Fletcher states, “We’re always looking for new ways to challenge, strengthen, and minister to women.” Providing information and inspiration from a feminine perspective, the magazine includes Bible studies, useful ideas, and interest/issue-related articles written by Free Will Baptist women.

Though many churches use the magazine’s studies for their monthly programs, CoLaborer welcomes individual subscribers. More information is available online at where upcoming events will also be posted.  Send information (event name, date, location, speaker, and contact person) to CoLaborer, PO Box 5002, Antioch, TN or email



©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists